Illinois State University has closely monitored information regarding the spread of coronavirus since releasing our initial plans for the 2021-22 academic year in June. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) have released updated guidance regarding the approach to coronavirus for colleges and universities. In addition, current trends regarding the highly contagious Delta variant are concerning as it has become the prominent strain in the United States and in McLean County, where Illinois State University is located.
Being a responsible Redbird includes taking measures to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. “Vaccination is the best path forward,” said Illinois State University President Terri Goss Kinzy, “As a biomedical scientist who, for decades, has studied aspects of the process underlying the new COVID vaccines, I support the scientific evidence that COVID vaccination is the most effective strategy to keeping our community healthy.”
Illinois State continues to keep health and safety as its top priority and as a result of updated guidance, the University is implementing the following public health measures:
- Face Covering Requirement: Beginning Thursday, July 29, face coverings are required in all public indoor spaces to align with updated CDC masking recommendations released Tuesday, July 27, 2021. The IDPH is also in full support of the CDC recommendations, which state that “everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas with substantial and high transmission.” McLean County is currently designated as having “substantial” transmission by the CDC. Therefore, until further notice, face coverings are required for students, faculty, staff, and visitors on campus, including Laboratory Schools, in all common indoor spaces (classrooms, conference rooms, hallways, restrooms, breakrooms, dining facilities, elevators, public spaces within on-campus residential living environments, etc.).
- Vaccination Requirement: Students, faculty, and staff who are taking courses or working on campus, are required to provide evidence of receiving an approved COVID-19 vaccination to Student Health Services (SHS). (See instructions below.) The University is accepting vaccines currently authorized for emergency use by either the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization. Learn more about where to find a vaccine near you.
- Testing Requirement: Beginning August 9, 2021, students, faculty, and staff who are on campus and who have not provided Student Health Services (SHS) with evidence of vaccination are required to participate in weekly on-campus saliva-based COVID-19 testing provided by SHIELD Illinois. More information about the testing program will be shared with students and employees prior to August 9.
- Exemptions: There is no exemption process for the COVID-19 vaccine requirement. Individuals who do not provide Student Health Services (SHS) with evidence of vaccination are required to participate in on-campus saliva-based COVID-19 testing. Students who need an accommodation from this requirement can contact Student Access and Accommodation Services. Employees in need an accommodation, contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access.
- On-Campus Housing: Students living in on-campus housing should submit vaccination records prior to Move-In or submit proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours of their scheduled Move-In time through the health services portal. Failure to follow these steps will delay your Move-In experience until you fulfill these requirements. Student Health Services will provide detailed information to on-campus students in the coming days.
Students who are enrolled in fall courses, who are fully vaccinated, and who upload their COVID-19 vaccination information prior to the first day of class will be entered to win one of the following incentives.
- $1,000 scholarship (Awarded to 100 students)
- $100 in Flex Dollars added to the Redbird ID Card (Awarded to 75 students)
Winners will be notified at their Illinois State University email address the week of August 23. Learn more about the vaccination incentive program.
Why Get Vaccinated?
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and are readily available throughout Illinois and the nation. The current vaccines protect against COVID-19 variants, including the Delta variant. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines.
- Even if you have had COVID-19, vaccines provide added protection against future COVID exposures. Read the CDC guidance for those who are fully vaccinated.
- Getting vaccinated protects against the spread of this disease and protects you and others from getting COVID, including the Delta variant. Vaccinated individuals are less likely to become seriously ill or become hospitalized in the unlikely event they get COVID-19.
- See the latest information from the CDC.
Illinois State University has joined schools across the country in The White House and U.S. Department of Education’s COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge. The Challenge is part of a nationwide effort to promote vaccination, end the pandemic, and speed the country’s return to more normal operations.
Submitting Vaccination Records
- Students and employees should submit their vaccination records as soon as possible beginning at 8 a.m., Thursday, July 29 to the secure Patient Health Portal by uploading an image of your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card or a COVID-19 immunization record provided by a healthcare provider. Student Health Services is required to follow all confidentiality rules and regulations regarding medical information.
- Students who were vaccinated at an on-campus clinic already have a COVID-19 vaccination record on file with SHS and do not need to upload a COVID-19 vaccine record. However, employees who were vaccinated at an on-campus vaccination clinic are encouraged to login to the secure Patient Health Portal to ensure that their record is on file. If the record is not on file, employees should upload a copy of their record. If the employee is unable to upload the document, the employee can bring the record to Human Resources for assistance in uploading.
- Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine.
- Student Health Services verifies immunization records as they are received using information provided in governmental immunization databases.